Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Magic of White Feather Designs

“It is commonly thought in most cultures that feathers are symbols of higher thought, spiritual progression. The line of thought here is that birds were considered divine creatures in primitive/ancient cultures because they are creatures of the sky (heaven) and therefore closer to God. When you find feathers upon your path it could be taken to mean that you are on a higher spiritual path (whether you accept it or not), and it may be a sign of encouragement as you philosophically travel on this path.” -Avia Venefica

So begins our introduction to Breanne Morrow, the talent behind handmade jewelry line White Feather Designs. Starting in 2007, Breanne followed her feathers to Mexico where she studied the art of silversmithing. Filled with newfound knowledge and the inspiration to create, Breanne returned to Canada to begin her jewelry journey.
From necklaces to bracelets, earrings and cuffs, all of Breanne’s pieces are lovingly made by hand with meticulous care. Using brass, gold, silver and copper, Breanne’s muse is the world around her. Her new Boneyard Collection, for example, features a necklace made from a mould of a snake vertebrae. Incorporating vintage jewelry and buttons into many of her pieces, it is impossible to not find something perfectly suited to your personal style in her varied collections!

Looking through her beautiful online galleries, you will be awe-struck by the textures, colours and attention to detail that Breanne has infused into each piece. Every item has a story – one that you can make your own and adapt to any style or mood that may strike you.
 You can browse through all of Breanne’s beautiful collections by visiting White Feather Designs online at http://www.whitefeatherdesigns.net and purchase via Etsy. Better yet, why not come out and visit her and see her designs in person? You can find her at the following events in September!

September 14-16 – Queen West Art Crawl
Trinity Bellwoods Park, Toronto

September 21-22
2nd Annual Fall Handmade Market
13th Street Winery, St. Catharines

Jasmin is a freelance writer currently based in Kingston, ON. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rebel & Fuss Outfits the Urban Warrior

Are you looking for unique, hand-crafted jewelry with a rock ‘n roll vibe? Look no further than Rebel & Fuss, the new line by Toronto native Jo Kozoriz!
Jo’s jewelry is carved with 100% brass and vintage-sourced materials. Whether you are searching for a necklace, a bracelet or even an ear cuff, Jo has got you covered.

Her two distinct lines tempt you with something beautiful to please your rebel soul. Starting with “The Hunt and The Prowl” Jo has created brass totems of style that will get you noticed. As Jo describes it, this line is “major!”

If feathers, leather and embroidery are more your speed, check out her second curated collection entitled “We Are of This Band”.  Extraordinary necklaces and more come alive with Jo’s wild-child sensibilities.

Rocking Jo’s outstanding pieces will show the world that you are a true urban warrior. Dancing to the beat of your own drum, you know the value of a quality, hand-crafted piece when you see it. Rebel & Fuss jewelry will easily become a cherished piece of your wardrobe for years to come!

Want to see more? You can visit Jo’s online shop via http://rebelandfuss.tumblr.com. If you want to see these stunning pieces in person, Rebel & Fuss is currently stocked at Love of Mine Boutique on Toronto’s hip Queen Street West.

Rebel & Fuss by Jo Kozoriz
Selected pieces at Love of Mine Boutique
781 Queen St. West, Toronto 416-368-4999

Jasmin is a freelance writer currently based in Kingston, ON. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Amber Watkins SWIM

Amber Watkins is one of AoF past finalists and you will understand why when you see her stunning swimwear line. She has produced new lines for shows and competitions such as Angie's Models and Talent Annual Showcase and participated in several charity fashion shows. And just last year she has started her own business, which she talks to us about during the interview.

Amber Watkins
Amber Watkins SWIM

1. What lead you to start designing?
It all started as something fun to work on that would satisfy my creative bug.  I began sketching my ideas during university, and sewing pieces for myself.  My girlfriend knew that I was designing and creating clothing for myself at home and she asked me to be a part of a fashion competition she had organized at a local venue.  That was over 4 years ago, and for the 3 or so years following I participated in numerous fashion shows and competitions, including Art of Fashion in 2010.

2. What is your favourite piece you have ever designed? 
That's so tough!  I try not to show pieces that I don't feel completely proud of, and every collection I've made tells a different story.  If I absolutely must choose, it would be a royal blue monokini with a braid down the centre that I made 2 years ago.  It was a crowd favourite and the model who wore it looked phenomenal.
3. You were a past finalist for AOF, how did you find the experience?
I really enjoyed the AOF competition, for many reasons.  I work best when I have a theme and specific directives, and it gave me a completely new challenge to face when designing my collection.  I was very happy with the pieces that I created and additionally I enjoyed the challenge of creating a space that would display them in a creative way.  It should be mentioned that it was also my first Toronto fashion competition, so that provided a new level of experience, and a new city in which to display my designs.  I loved the media coverage and interaction with the observers and I was very happy to be a part of the excitement.

4. Where do you find your inspiration?
That depends on the intent of the design.  For competitions, I enjoy really getting into the assignment.  For example, the year I participated in AOF, the theme was "La Belle Epoque".  I did a lot of research and then designed a collection that combined my swimwear specialty with some of the major fashion themes of the time.  I was really happy with how it turned out.  For my current swimwear collection, I incorporated vintage cuts using modern textiles and colours.

5. What is your favourite quote?
I admit I mostly quote movies, but this one is pretty relevant: 
"The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work."
- Emile Zola (1840-1902)

6. In 3 words how would you explain your personal style?
I'm going to need more than 3, hahaha. Feminine, mood-inspired, mix of classic cuts and current trends.

7. What obstacles have your overcome to get to where you are today?
Oh wow, quite a few.  I would say that first of all since I did not go to school for neither fashion design nor business, I have followed a nearly 90 degree learning curve.  When I decided to start the business in June 2011, I really didn't know exactly what was in store for me, so the last year has been a continuous sequence of hurdles.  I am proud of all that I have accomplished in such a short time.  It is so rewarding to look back and see where I began and what I can achieve when I make small goals and build on them.  I've said this before and am a firm believer in its truth: If the goal is what you are meant to be doing, it should take work to achieve, but never be a force pushing against you.  Every goal I have reached has taken effort to meet, but generally I have felt the path has been a natural one to follow.

8. What do you think will be big for swimwear in 2013?
Great question!  I checked out the Mercedes Benz Swim 2013 Miami images, and there was a good mix.  Lots of patterned fabrics, which I really liked.  It looks like colour blocking is still in as well for next season, as well as asymmetrical and cut-out styles.

Images below are from Amber's current line:
Post by Jenelle S. of Nelle Creations

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Art of Fashion Announces Call for Designers!

The Creative Flare of Coal Miner’s Daughter

Coal Miner’s Daughter is a lovely gem of a boutique with two locations in Toronto. Founded by Janine Cockburn-Haller and Krysten Caddy, the shops feature their own clothing and jewelry designs and showcase up-and-coming designers from across Canada. Each store carries a variety of unique items, so be sure to check out both!

Below, Krysten answers some questions for Art of Fashion.

AoF: What inspired you to create Coal Miner's Daughter?

Krysten: Janine and I are both designers, so we wanted to start something where we could showcase our own work and also find other designers out there, like us, who were looking for new spaces to show their work. Since our start in 2009, we have grown and been able to pick up a lot of new designers, so I feel like we're well on our way toward our goal of supporting Canadian fashion. T

AoF: What’s the significance of the company name?

Krysten: The CMD name speaks to the creativity and resourcefulness involved in the design and creation process. Janine and I are both known to re-use vintage materials in our work from time to time, so we felt that also spoke to our CMD name.

AoF: Who are your current favourite Canadian designers?

Krysten: It's really tough to choose favourites. There are so many talented Canadian designers out there right now and they all have their own special something. If I had to choose right at this very moment, I would have to say I'm loving Eve Gravel and Valerie Dumaine from Montreal, Shoshanah Kuper and Sara Duke from Toronto, and my personal favourite, Janine's label Clementine & Tweed.

Aof: Can you describe the aesthetic of your own jewelry and clothing creations?

Krysten: The CMD jewellery brand is very focused on delicate and elegant style with a timeless aesthetic. It's pretty and feminine and great for everyday. I like to design pieces that are comfortable to wear and highlight the stones and pearls I use. I'm drawn to stones with unique qualities so a lot of what I do is very few or one of a kind. For example, for fall I've released a collection of two-toned silver and agate slice pendants where no two are alike.

The Clementine & Tweed clothing line (designed by 
Janine Cockburn-Haller) has a strong focus on practical, feminine clothes. I love making things that anyone can wear and feel beautiful in. My pieces range from flowy, comfortable tops to drop-dead sexy dresses, but everything has a little twist that sets it apart. I take a lot of inspiration from vintage cuts and shapes, while adding a modern element with the fabric and print.

Coal Miner’s Daughter
587 Markham Street, Toronto
744 Queen Street West, Toronto

Jasmin is a freelance writer currently based in Kingston, ON. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Introducing Art of Fashion's Top Industry Judges for 2012

The 2012 Art of Fashion Design Competition is quickly approaching and the countdown to the application deadline is on! Emerging Canadian designers have until August 17th 2012 to get their sketches finalized and their entries in.

Once the application process is complete, 10 design finalists will be chosen by the Art of Fashion Board of Directors to compete for the $30,000+ prize-package – they will get their collections in front of a select panel of fashion industry judges and 10,000+ attendees during Nuit Blanche on September 29th 2012, at Hazelton Lanes in Toronto.

Designer finalists will have the rare opportunity to pick the brains of some of Canada’s most influential designers, editors and industry experts. The elite panel of judges will share their insights and choose 2012’s Most Promising Designer.

Art of Fashion is pleased to announce the 2012 judging panel:

•   Franco Mirabelli, Owner, Franco Mirabelli Design Inc. 
•   Michelle Bilodeau, Editorial Director, Front Row Magazine
•   Kristy Wieber, Co-founder & President of Rent Frock Repeat
•   Lisa Delorme, Co-founder & CEO of Rent Frock Repeat
•   Jessica Jensen, Designer & President at Jessica Jensen
•   Pheinixx, Creative Director at Pencil
•   Kait Walker, Publisher at Trends Magazine
•   Albert Yuen, Designer and 2011 Art of Fashion Winner
•   Erin Hershberg, Managing Editor at TORO Magazine
•   Jacqueline Parrish, Fashion Editor at Anokhi Magazine

"I'm thrilled to be able to offer guidance and advice to the two winning designers once again this year,” says Pheinixx, creative director at Pencil and one of this year’s judges. “I have been fortunate to work with a diverse mix of Canadian and International designers over the years, and the value of establishing a strong brand early is consistently proven to be at the core of every successful fashion label." In addition to judging the 2012 competition, Pheinixx will be assisting the two winning designers in creative brand development.

Designer finalists will have the rare opportunity to pick the brains of some of Canada’s most influential designers, editors and industry experts. The elite panel of judges will share their insights and choose 2012’s Most Promising Designer.

“As a Canadian designer, it is important to me that I do what I can to help emerging designers break out and succeed,” says luxury handbag designer and 2012 Art of Fashion judge, Jessica Jensen. “I’m both honoured and excited to be part of the judging panel and I look forward to seeing what the finalists have in store for us.”
Don’t miss this exciting opportunity. For designer applications and more information, visit ArtofFashion.org/ 

Art of Fashion is an award-winning not-for-profit organization committed to fostering the careers of Canadian apparel and accessory designers by creating platforms for exposure.  It is the only organization in Canada to offer emerging apparel and accessory designers an opportunity to showcase their talents to both the public and fashion industry insiders, while providing a wealth of marketing and promotional opportunities to foster career growth.  Established in 1998 by Michelle Planche, President of Paradigm Events, and driven entirely by the support of volunteers, Art of Fashion strives to be the catalyst that sparks careers in Canadian fashion.


For more information or to arrange an interview, contact: 
Fiona Keeshan, KeeshanPR t: 416-479-0735 e: fiona@keeshanpr.com

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Designs by Naomi - A Toronto Treasure

As soon as you enter Designs by Naomi’s flagship shop in Toronto’s hip Yorkville neighbourhood, you know you are in for a truly unique shopping experience. Brightly coloured walls, fun accessories and unique art all combine to give you a true feast of the senses. Combined with their cult clothing line as the anchor, this is one shop you will want to return to over and over again!

Designs by Naomi was started over 12 years ago by sisters Devorah and Naomi, with a goal of creating a perfect pair of jeans that fit every woman perfectly, regardless of their shape. Made with quality materials and hand-painted, each piece is one-of-a-kind and a true treasure for your wardrobe. Now more than jeans, the line has expanded to include a variety of functional pieces (featuring the very popular peplum style top) that are beloved by their customers.

Catering to women from all walks of life, all shapes and sizes and all ages, DBM strives to provide new and exclusive items in their shop every month. Accessories and handbags are lovingly selected to complement the clothing line’s unique style.
Featured in the very first Art of Fashion runway show, Designs by Naomi is one label that is quickly rising to star status. Check them out for a shopping experience you will never forget and clothes you will cherish for years to come!

Designs by Naomi
128 ½ Cumberland Street
Toronto, ON

Jasmin is a freelance writer currently based in Kingston, ON. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

MRS. Bridal Boutique's Kelly Power Talks Location, Location, Location

Starting your own storefront business is a daunting task in and of itself. Kelly Power, co-owner of MRS. Bridal Boutique, and member of Art of Fashion's Board of Directors, insists that finding the perfect location is absolutely crucial. For many businesses, getting the right location can make the difference between success and failure. Here are some insider tips from the Toronto-based business owner making waves in the retail bridal industry.

The first step in finding a great location is to do your research. Going out and speaking to other small business owners in the area is one of the most helpful sources available as they have first-hand information on the area's traffic and development. When talking about traffic, it is important not to mistake a lot of traffic for a lot of customers. Many retailers want to be located where there are many shoppers but that is only beneficial if that shopper meets the definition of their target market. For example, in the case of an appointment-only business, it could be more beneficial to be in a central location rather than in an area of high walk-by traffic. 

Thorough research of the area will also help to determine if the types of businesses nearby are compatible with your type of store. With regards to opening up a bridal store for example, we looked for an area where other bridal vendors were situated so brides could have that perfect one-stop shop experience.

Before signing a lease, be sure you have a second pair of eyes review all of the small print. It's essential to contact the local city hall for information on regulations regarding the building. You should be aware in advance of any restrictions that may affect your retail business and any future planning that could change traffic or visibility, such as condo development (especially in Toronto!). 

Besides just the base rent, you must also consider all other costs involved when signing a lease. You'll want to know things like who pays for garbage removal, building maintenance, utilities, property taxes, etc. It is difficult enough to create sales projects on a new business, so if you can nail down your rent costs you'll be one step

Lastly, take your time when making the decision on where to put your retail store (even if you are in a rush!). Research the area and have patience even if that means pushing back the date of the store's opening. Location is one of (if not the) most important aspects to your business and you want to make sure you make the right decision for you and your storefront.

For more info on Mrs. Bridal Boutique, contact 416.925.1674

Store Hours:


Tuesday - Thursday
11:00am - 5:00pm, private evening appointments available by request.

Friday - Saturday 
11:00am - 4:00pm, private evening appointments available by request.

Closed, private appointments available by request.

164 Davenport Road
Toronto, Ontario
M5R 1J2